The Jer. Talmud (Taanit 24, 1) tells us that when Bar Kochba's went to a battle he was saying:

"וכד (הוא) דהוה נפק לקרבא הוה אמר ריבוניה דעלמא לא תסעוד ולא תכסוף
(תהילים ס׳:י״ב) הלא אתה אלהים זנחתנו ולא תצא בצבאותינו"

So he was saying when going to a battle: "The Almighty Ruler of the World! Don't help us but don't despise (?) us" (My translation).

In my understanding, the Jewish tradition regarding approaching war is to pray for G-d's help and maximize our reliance on Him, based on many verses in the Torah, like "ה' ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון", Moses preventing an attempt to go to a fight without G-d's support (num 13) and many more.

What is the meaning of this statement (if not as Pshat) and what can be said of Bar Kochba when he acted exactly the opposite of the Jewish military?

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    "the Jewish military tradition of praying and relying on Hashem and not on personal strengths ה' ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון" What is this nonsense? The Jewish tradition is to pray then fight, as Bar Kochva seems to have done, not to pray and then not fight. Every battle isn't the Splitting of the Sea where God tells you not to fight. You picked literally the only case where the decision, after an explicit prophetic command, was not to fight. – Double AA Jan 9 at 16:27
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    Isn’t this meant as a criticism of Bar Kochba? – Joel K Jan 9 at 16:30
  • @DoubleAA Although I'm inclined to agree with your general view that the concept traditionally for a Jewish army is to pray and then fight, there is a tradition, like is mentioned in Sefer Avkat Rochel of Rabbeinu Makir and I believe also in Sefer Zerubavel that when Moshiach confronts Armilus in their final conflict, Moshiach repeats the words of Moshe Rabbeinu from the Splitting of the Sea. This would suggest that Bar Kochba actually believed that he was Moshiach like is mentioned in Sanhedrin 93. – Yaacov Deane Jan 9 at 18:44
  • @AlBerko You might find what your looking for in Sefer Pri Tzadik of Rabbi Tzaddik HaKohen of Lublin, 15th of Av, Chapter 5:1. See: sefaria.org/… – Yaacov Deane Jan 9 at 18:57

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